No matter how spiritual someone is, there probably have been times the person has questioned God’s presence in his life. We are prone to wonder—is God at work in my life? Has He forgotten me or has He abandoned me?
This issue of the Western Recorder focuses on “the ways God works,” and hopefully will be a reminder that God is always working for our good and His glory.
This issue relates the story of Linda Cooper and how she has seen the ways God has worked in her life, leading to her current position as national WMU president.
You see it in the account of Pastor Denver Copeland and the period in his life when God gave him a wake-up call after he had been out of ministry for three years.
And then there’s the remarkable story of two families who adopted five siblings from Haiti — for six years there were numerous setbacks in that process, but now they look back and see how God worked mightily.
You’ll be heartened to read how Paul Badgett explains the ways God comforts us in times of heartache, and a Paducah woman reflects on the ways God worked when her church was hit by a tornado.
When we are in the midst of difficulties and trials and distress, it’s not easy to see the ways that God is working. But in retrospect, we see the ways He works. As a result, we are emboldened in our faith and have confidence in His ability to do all things good and glorious.
Allow me to encourage you today to ponder your life and consider the times you thought your situation was bleak, but God was working to fulfill His purposes for your life. We see that principle repeatedly in scripture.
There was Joseph—sold into slavery, unjustly cast into prison and languished there. Eventually he became the No. 2 man in Egypt, and when his brothers appeared before him seeking relief from the famine in Israel, Joseph voiced his faith in God’s ways, saying what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good.
Perhaps you can relate to Job, who complained against God, saying, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him” (Job 23:8-9). Job was suffering, yet he couldn’t sense God’s presence to comfort him or explain his difficulties.
Hopefully these stories will help you to respond as Job did. Even though he couldn’t find God, he did not lose faith in God. Be encouraged by the words of Job 23:10— “he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”
That’s our challenge — to remember and remain faithful. You may be suffering in a difficulty of life and encounter someone who seemingly has everything going their way. Your immediate response is that it just isn’t fair. Why are you struggling and someone else seems to have a wonderful life. It is at that time we recall the words of the hymn which says:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Embracing those lyrics can help us “count it all joy” in life’s trials and troubles. We then remember the words of the song which says, “When you can’t trace His hand, when you don’t see His plan, when you don’t understand, trust His heart.”
It amazes me the way God worked in my life two years ago. At age 68, I did something I never expected to do —I retired from the newspaper business that I had known and loved all my life. But God had a different plan, calling me into ministry and then unmistakably leading me to the position as interim editor of this publication. He allowed my wife and me to have peace in leaving the comforts of our small town in western Kentucky where we had lived the past 42 years to relocate to the state’s largest city—and have great joy in doing it.
Let’s rejoice that God’s ways are higher than our ways.
Be thankful for that, because He shepherds our lives and orders our steps far better than we could on our own.
Chip Hutcheson is interim managing editor of the Western Recorder, a monthly magazine of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. You can email him at chip. firstname.lastname@example.org.